The Red Bulls' slow and steady climb up the power rankings this week was thanks in part to a full team effort in back-to-back matches against New England and Los Angeles. While guys like Dax McCarty and Brandon Barklage have received individual praise for their efforts, there's no question that Ryan Meara has also been the talk of the town over these past two clean sheets.
Meara's leaping, one-handed save on the Galaxy's Juninho in the 83rd minute of Saturday's match may very well have been the deciding factor behind whether the Red Bulls escaped LA with three points in the win or one in the draw.
Obviously the back line playing in front of Meara has also been a huge factor in recent games, but that save was all on the shoulders of the Red Bulls' rookie 'keeper.
MLSsoccer.com took notice of Meara's play and has justifiably given him a jump from third place to first overall in this week's Rookie Rankings. Here's what they had to say about the 21-year-old out of Fordham:
"Things just keep getting better and better for Meara. Last week, Ireland's interest in the young netminder went public, then he collected his second straight shutout in LA, a performance punctuated by an incredible save on Juninho's drive to preserve the Red Bulls' 1-0 victory."
Although Meara has been somewhat of a staple on the weekly Rookie Rankings, fellow newcomer Connor Lade made his debut this week at the No. 4 spot. Lade made his Red Bulls debut as a sub in the Apr. 14 draw against San Jose and registered his first career MLS start the following week against DC United. MLSsoccer.com had this to say about Lade:
"Welcome to the list, Connor Lade. The New York Homegrown signee wasn't supposed to play much of a role this year, but injuries and circumstance have thrust him into the action. He hasn't missed a beat, putting in several good performances culminating in a poised, professional 90 minutes against Landon Donovan and the Galaxy."
What do you think about this week's Rookie Rankings?